HELSINKI (AP) — A helicopter accident in western Norway last week that killed all 13 people on board was caused by technical failure and not human error, investigators said Tuesday.
The Norwegian Accident Investigation Board said its probe and visual evidence, including video of the helicopter's rotor propelling into the sea moments before it crashed, indicated sudden mechanical failure. It didn't elaborate on the technical fault, saying a full investigation would take time.
The agency's head of aviation, Kare Halvorsen, said the accident happened "very, very quickly," according to Norwegian news agency NTB. He said the aircraft had not made a mayday call or indicated in any way that it was in trouble.
The Airbus EC-225LP helicopter was flying from an offshore oil rig in the North Sea with 11 Norwegians, one Briton and one Italian on board when it crashed Friday by the tiny island of Turoey near the western city of Bergen.
Halvorsen acknowledged that some parts of the helicopter were missing after its wrecked fuselage was retrieved from the sea on Saturday, but said it wasn't clear whether they were critical for the investigation. The quality of the data from the flight and cockpit recorders that were sent to Britain for analysis was good, investigators said.
Police said they had identified the victims, but have not released all the names in accordance with the wishes of some of the families. Their ages ranged between 32 and 60.
After the accident, Norway's aviation agency banned all Airbus EC-225LP helicopters from flying in Norway or near Norwegian offshore facilities and Britain's Civil Aviation Authority grounded all commercial passenger flights using such helicopters except for search-and-rescue operations.